Like Apple with Siri, another big-name tech company, Facebook, couldn't help but create a little abortion-related controversy of its own when it pulled home-abortions instruction from its site last week. As Jezebel reports, it all started when Dutch women's rights organization Women on Waves posted this graphic describing how to terminate a pregnancy via a drug called misoprostol (pictured above). The content was intended for women who wanted to safely have an abortion in countries where the procedure was against the law, as misoprostol can be prescribed to treat ulcers. Misoprostol used in conjunction with an abortion drug called mifeprex is an FDA-approved way of ending early pregnancies. And while the method described in the Women on Waves's Facebook posting doesn't use mifeprex, the organization's website says that using misoprostol and mifeprex together is the "best and safest way a woman can do an abortion herself" while a "woman can also do an abortion herself until the 9th week of pregnancy with only the use of Misoprostol." So presumably, Women on Waves claims that using misoprostol alone is a second-best option if mifeprex is unavailable.
But then, on December 30, Women on Waves reported that Facebook removed the instructions, making the company do a standard PR mea culpa and issue an apologetic press release. "[The policy-enforcement] team looks at hundreds of thousands of reports every week, and as you might expect, occasionally, we make a mistake and remove a piece of content we shouldn't have," Facebook wrote. So perhaps Facebook, at least initially, didn't want to be held liable for such a posting before changing its mind. We saw that happen with Apple a month ago, when it released Siri and people released that they couldn't search for abortion clinics with it. According to Apple, it wasn't due not to a nefarious anti-abortion bias but to "a kink in Siri's software," as we reported.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.